In a single year, Dr. David Gunn was killed, Jane Roe recanted, the Supreme Court began to backpedal from its landmark 1973 decision, Congress became fixated on a rare late-term abortion procedure, and numerous states imposed legislation limiting a woman's right to choose. It was a year of extremes for an issue that seems to know no middle ground, and it is the polarizing quality of abortion as a policymaking dilemma that No Neutral Ground? seeks to address.One of the most heated and often violent issues of our time, abortion continues to challenge leaders, citizens, and policymakers alike. Is it a question of morality? Personal liberty? The right to privacy? Keeping the peace? What are the implications of the Supreme Court's rulings on abortion for future legislation? And what does it mean for every level of government when an issue defies consensus the way that abortion does? In her unique treatment of this complex subject, Karen O'Connor builds on the history of abortion as a political issuehow it was first defined in the early 1800s and how it got on the political agendaand takes us through the tug-of-war development of abortion politics to the present, using the policy process framework. Examining key court cases, institutions, dramatic events, and opinions from the public to the Supreme Court, O'Connor highlights the dilemma of how a polity attempts to make decisions about issues on which agreement or compromise is unlikely. She questions whether such divisive issues can ever be satisfactorily resolved, but gives us the tools to explore every avenue toward potential resolution.
About the Author
Karen O'Connor is professor of government at American University and author, with Larry Sabato, of American Government: Roots and Reform.